by Moses Apsan, Esq.
The first state to claim its superiority over federal government and our constitution was Arizona when, when, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a potentially anti-immigrant law that has the ability to mark as criminals not only illegal aliens but legal residents too.
The law makes failure to carry proof of citizenship or legal status a crime, and any immigrants who can't produce the documentation can be arrested, fined $2,500 and jailed for up to six months. Until the Arizona law goes into effect, a person in illegal status is not a criminal. Being illegal in the U.S. has always been an administrative violation subject to deportation and not incarceration.
The law opens a deep fracture in Arizona, with a greater part of the thousands of callers to the governor’s office urging her to reject it.
Under SB 1070 the police officers are required to arrest and detain people they perceive on a "reasonable suspicion" are undocumented. It’s not unexpected news, that this law has shocked the country. Most people understand that there is no such thing as looking undocumented or even American. Requiring the police officers to racially profile sets this country back to a disgraceful time in our countries the past where racial segregation was the law of the land. The law goes beyond racial profiling as we have known in the past as it now places the police “under color of law” to conduct discriminatory practice. The state of Arizona has become home to a laws that use immigration as a reason to criminalize anyone that is not white. The bill is an attack on this nation's fundamental values.
According to Mayor Bloomberg said the law could injure the country financially because it "sends exactly the wrong message. "Bloomberg emphasized the economic influence of the law. "But as a country, America will be badly hurt if more states follow Arizona's lead," he said. "Foreign investment and tourism are critical to our national economy, and this new law sends exactly the wrong message to international companies and travelers." Bloomberg called on Washington to lead the way with comprehensive reform. Senator’s Schumer and Graham has been meeting with lawmakers to outline a comprehensive immigration reform strategy.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio considers it an "un-American" legislation that "does nothing to address the pressing problems of our broken immigration system."
"The disturbing trend of our immigration policies being influenced by xenophobia and racial profiling has reached a new level in Arizona," de Blasio said. "[This new law] is offensive, discriminatory and does nothing to address the pressing problems of our broken immigration system."
Throughout the country civil rights advocates are protesting the immigration law with rallies and boycotts. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is joining in. Saturday the group traveled to Arizona to show unity. They worry the new law will lead to persecution and racial profiling.
Julie Gonzales with Reform Immigration for America said "Immigrant communities and Chicano communities across the state of Arizona are in a state of terror,"
Along with preparation for the May 1 rally they are expecting many Arizona families to run away and seek refuge in Colorado.
"We know that at least one family has come to Colorado, brought their families, dropped everything and left because there is such a state of panic," Gonzales said.
As expected from former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who is a well know racist and anti-immigrant propionate, he says Arizona is doing the right thing. "If the federal government won't do it, states throughout the nation should. And that will put pressure on the federal government to do something, to do something right,"
Democratic senators on Sunday called for Congress to quickly take up comprehensive immigration legislation, saying the controversial policy signed into law in Arizona this past week highlights the need for a national overhaul.
Republicans, as expected, are resolute that the time is not accurate for the legislation, with unemployment near 10 percent and negotiations over a Wall Street regulation bill in movement. Democrats are already shifting their priorities form climate changes to focus on immigration.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Dodd said "The idea that state by state would start developing its own immigration laws in the country -- imagine what a patchwork that might look like," "It's demanding a national answer to immigration policy, so before this even gets further out of hand, we've got to step up and do the job." Dodd called the Arizona law "outrageous."
Dodd is far from alone. President Obama has decried the policy as "misguided" and called on the Justice Department to look at its civil rights implications.
The prospect of plummeting into a national immigration debate is being ever more talked about on Capitol Hill, impelled in part by recent statements by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the majority leader. He make it clear to the crowed that he intends to bring legislation to the Senate floor after Memorial Day.
Mexico has joined thee fray. It has already forewarned that the law could affect cross-border relations. "Police in Arizona already treat migrants worse than animals," said Francisco Loureiro, an activist who runs a migrant shelter in the border town of Nogales, Mexico. "There is already a hunt for migrants, and now it will be open season under the cover of a law."
Immigrant rights activists are expected to rally nationwide on May 1 in as part of an annual call for immigration and economic reform. In the New York City, that rally is set for 12 noon in Foley Square near City Hall.